Ten Great Albums From 2015, #4: D’Angelo Black Messiah (RCA)
Note to Axl Rose: when you disappear for a decade and a half, go all hermit-style with troubling reports of erratic behavior and worry your legion of fans to tears, THIS is the quality of comeback album you’re supposed to produce.
Spare me number-nerds, I know this one was technically released in 2014, but since it was released a mere two weeks before 2015, it missed nearly every self-important “Best of” list like this one, and that’s a damn shame. A shame because not only do they not make R&B albums like this one anymore, they flat-out don’t make ANY albums like this one anymore. Genre-bending, analog-loving, politically relevant…it restored my hope that artists and labels alike are still willing to embrace substance over fashion.
14 weird years have passed since the last D’Angelo release, but that all flies out the window the second the needle drops on Black Messiah. Backed by a crack staff including Pino Palladino, Questlove and numerous others, it’s a stunning assemblage that would have been at home between your uncle’s Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield records, but our barren auto-tuned landscape here in 2015 is where this diamond shines the brightest.